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You’ve made it through another long week at school. You love helping your students, but the demands of your job sometimes stack up on you — expectations from administration, added paperwork, the piles of grading, and consistently revamping your lessons to give your students the best education possible.
Many great educators let their teacher guilt get the best of them on weekends and breaks. They feel the need to continue learning and prepping, unable to leave the work at school. While you may want to use a portion of your weekend to regroup for the coming week, you should also regroup for yourself and your health.
Teacher burnout is all too prevalent, with 55% of teachers considering leaving the field. Avoid this outcome by caring for yourself and becoming more than your occupation. If this idea feels foreign to you, these suggestions will help you learn how to relax as a teacher.
1. Practice Mindfulness
Slow your frantic workweek pace and practice mindfulness over the weekend. The benefits will stick with you into Monday. Take a few minutes to work on deep breathing exercises. Unroll your mat and get into a good flow. You can even just sit in silence and pay attention to the sensory input around you. Whatever you choose to do, stay present in the moment and soak up every relaxing minute.
2. Read a Book
You naturally end up reading a lot for your job. There’s always new educational material to read, things to grade, and lessons to prep. Ultimately, those things won’t bring you the sense of peace and restoration you need from your weekend or break. For once, choose something you want to read. Get lost in your favorite novel or a motivating non-fiction book — bonus points if your reading helps you learn how to relax as a teacher.
3. Head Outside
Is reading not your thing? Maybe you prefer more active pursuits — that’s alright too. Getting out in nature is incredibly therapeutic, improving your mood, relationships, and physical health. Whether you walk around the block on your own or go hiking with a group of friends, the fresh air and sunshine will give you some much-needed perspective and time away from being a teacher.
4. Binge a Great Show
You’re so busy during the week with school and planning you probably don’t have time to keep track of all your favorite shows. With the wonderful invention of streaming, you can spend the weekend catching up. Pop a bag of popcorn, put on some cozy PJs, and have a guilt-free few hours staring at your screen.
5. Go on a Date
Add a little romance back into your life. Being a teacher often means it’s challenging to make time for relationships during the week. Getting all dressed up for a night out with someone special will remind you of the person you are, apart from being a teacher. Plus, whatever food you get to eat will surely be better than the meals you pack yourself for work.
6. Get a Massage
Massages are the pinnacle of relaxation for teachers. However, their high price tag may make it difficult to indulge frequently. Try setting aside enough money from your paychecks to get one a month. If that isn’t feasible, combine your massage with date night and ask your partner to help you out.
7. Tackle a Project
If you really can’t sit still. Keep your hands busy by tackling some projects around the house. Surely, you have a few things on your to-do list that get neglected during the school week. Mow the lawn, do some repairs, clean up your house, or try your hand at a renovation project. Getting one or more of these things done will help you feel accomplished and make your space more inviting and relaxing.
8. Connect With Friends and Family
When you work with kids every day of the school week, you need some adult time. Remind your friends and family how important they are to you by making a little time for them this weekend. Go out for a drink with your friends or have your family over for dinner. If your energy is extremely low and you need to stay in, give your loved ones a call and catch up over the phone.
Relish the Little Joys
Even if you choose to do nothing on this list, take time this weekend to relish the little joys of being away from school. Learn how to relax as a teacher so you don’t burn out. Spend more than 15 minutes eating your lunch and go to the bathroom whenever you want. If you can, spend at least one day taking care of your own needs before tackling the pile of schoolwork you just couldn’t leave behind.